How long have you been training?
4 years, 4 months. Although I dabbled with weight training throughout high school and college, I consider February 11, 2013, to be the day I started my fitness lifestyle.
There have been ups and downs, but through hard work, research, and personal experimentation I have completely changed my physique while learning how the human body functions.
The journey to the top is long, but rewarding, and I have no plans to slow down.
I’ve experimented with many different training styles and diets in an attempt to find what works best for me. It’s an amazing feeling to know how your body will respond to a particular training routine, and I want to help you learn how to do the same.
Why did you get started?
I got fat. Plain and simple.
I’d like to thank all the kegs and pizza senior year of college for that one. That and a lack of discipline and confidence.
When I graduated, I looked in the mirror and hated the swollen, puffy-faced man-child staring back at me… love handles and all.
So I busted my ass to change that reflection.
I cut from ~19% body fat down to ~7.5%. Since then, fitness has become a core part of my lifestyle and I am on a constant journey towards more size, strength, and mobility.
What are your goals?
To become a walking tank. A beast. A monster.
In all seriousness, I’m shooting for 180 lbs lean at 5′ 8″. A challenge, I know. But that’s the point.
I train with a focus on maintaining solid structural integrity and joint health, and I follow a diet that allows for lean bulking. I do not dirty bulk, because aesthetics are important to me. Do you really want to keep your shirt on in December when you bring a girl back to your place? Don’t dirty bulk.
What is your typical body fat percentage?
During the summer I usually cut down to around 8.5% body fat, but I stay between 9—12% most of the year while lean bulking.
If I hit 12.5%, I usually start a “mini-cut” by adding in some additional HIIT to get back down to a more aesthetic range.
What types of training do you enjoy?
Bodybuilding, powerlifting, strongman, and conditioning.
I perform many variations of movements in order to hit my muscles from several angels to encourage the most structural integrity and growth. This has the added benefit of avoiding monotony. Win-win.
I follow effective, challenging training routines, and I don’t follow the herd. You’ll never see me running on a treadmill for 45+ minutes…
Do you eat before training?
I usually have a small meal or snack one to three hours before training, since having a bigger meal makes me feel bloated and sluggish. I’ll train fasted if it’s first thing in the morning.
P.S. If you squat on a full stomach you may want to bring a puke bucket.
What do you do for cutting?
Intermittent fasting is one of the tools I use to lean out so quickly, and 18 to 20-hour fasts are a daily practice when I’m cutting. I’ll usually throw in a cheat day every two weeks, followed immediately by a 24-hour fast, which isn’t difficult after gorging for two hours at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.
This simple tool allows me to shred fat while retaining my muscle and sanity.
What do you do for bulking?
Eat big. It’s that simple.
If you want to be more precise, you can calculate your macros and aim to hit your calorie and macronutrient targets each day. Also, I generally feel best when I’m consuming clean, whole foods.
What supplements do you take?
I’m not too big on using supplements to replace food; however, I am all for using supplements that target various body functions and improve my overall health and well-being.
What training gear do you use?
I am a big believer in unassisted lifting during a majority of training, except in cases when you are using gear to protect your joints or to target a specific muscle group.
Here’s a few things I keep in my gym bag / closet:
- Wrist wraps.
- Unfortunately I have wrists the size of a ten-year-old girl, so I frequently use wrist wraps to protect them whenever I’m pressing in the 1-5 rep range.
- Lifting straps.
- I will occasionally use lifting straps to fully exhaust my back after my grip has given out. Some people prefer Versa Gripps.
- Sweaty hands = bad grip. Chalk = better grip.
- Don’t forget a chalk bag.
- Weight belt.
- I add additional weight to this belt and perform heavier pullups and dips. It’s better for you functionally, if you perform the natural movements instead of adding more weight by using a lat pull-down machine, which is better for hypertrophy than a pullup.
- Fat Gripz.
- These are awesome for fully activating your forearms and will help add overall mass and strength to your arms, also translating into bigger gains in your other lifts. Just don’t use them all the time.
- Lifting belt.
- I haven’t yet had a need for a lifting belt, but I will start using one when I feel the need for more support. I want a rock-solid core first.
- Neck harness.
- I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to have the body of a beast… with a pencil for a neck. I use a neck harness as part of my regimen. Having a thicker neck makes you harder to knock out too.
- Knee wraps.
- Knee wraps help to keep your knees tight and warm while squatting. I have used them in the past when my knees have been hurting, but I have since solved that issue with mobility work. I will start using knee wraps again once my squat gets heavier.
- Foam roller & lacrosse ball.
- I use both of these as part of my recovery routine. Gotta make sweet, painful love to those fascia.
What “gear” do you use?
All natural beef here. I don’t have experience with steroids, but I also don’t have anything against those that use them. Everyone has a choice to make when they get serious about this lifestyle, and whether you’re natural or enhanced, you still have to put in the same work under the iron.
We’re all brothers here. Just be safe and inform yourself as much as possible if you decide to start a cycle.
Do you ever plan on competing?
Possibly in a powerlifting, Olympic lifting, or strongman competition. Probably not in bodybuilding or physique simply because I don’t want to cut down to such a low body fat. My face started to look like Skeletor when I made it down to 7.5%… Not cool. When you are shredded as a natural, your hormones suffer.